Day Four – The Emergent World

23 Nov

Ouch. Day Four was by far the hardest day, but with a bit of mental wrestling, I made it through. At 11pm last night, though, I wasn’t far off buying a pack.

Four days into quitting smoking and some little changes are beginning to reveal themselves. Firstly, sleep – I don’t need it. The last three nights I’ve been in bed by 11ish, and awake, wide awake, at 3 or 4am – bright, sprightly and rearing to go. Yesterday, I reared so hard that I was up running at 5am, just so I could be doing something that didn’t involve lying down, reading, watching terrible morning television or pacing my apartment.

My lungs thanked me heartily for 45 minutes after that. If, by thanking heartily, I mean coughed and spluttered everywhere.

When I was a teenager, just beginning my nicotine craze, my favourite novel was Perfume by Patrick Suskind. It tells the story of Grenouille, the boy born without scent but with the world’s most powerful nose and his hunt for salvation and acceptance through acquiring the most perfect elegant scent the world had ever known existed. I loved the way Suskind opened our eyes to the nasal world. It challenged my perception of how I interacted with my environment.

When you quit smoking, nobody tells you about the effect of smell. Everybody knows smoking screws with your sense of smell, but what nobody tells you is that the world smells like shit. At least that’s the first elements noticed when smell returns. I was expecting a barrage of lady perfumes, of flowers, of restaurants cooking warm cakes, pasta, curries. Instead, walking down the street hits me with the odour of bins – that warm, pungent aroma that exists in a metre radius around each open street bin –¬† and the enveloping and crushing stink of the ‘I smoke 6 packs of cigarettes a day’ cat who decides to sit next to me on the tram.

But the worst moment was when ‘6 pack a day smoker’ decided to be a gentleman and rise to allow a near 103 year old man to sit. A face like burning pork, all pustules and blotches, with a nose and ears that seemed to have never ceased invading their nearby proximities, he was a character to stare at. He carried this strange, half doctors bag like those from the 1920s, and wore his hat with the pride of someone who had fought in World War 2. But, while¬† I could have dissected his caricature for hours, all that hit me as he sat, was the stench of old man – old stale piss mixed with mothballs and rotting newspapers. It pulsed at me, wafting over me with every jerk and jolt of the tram. For the first moment, I missed how nicotine had hidden the misery of scent from my life.

I take solace in lifting up my forearm to my nose and inhaling deeply though, because yesterday, I also discovered the scent of skin. My own skin, warm and full, smelled more alive than anything I had ever inhaled before. And as I passed another bin-filled alley shimmering in the fetor of decay, I raised my arm and inhaled deeply of the scent of life I’d failed to ever notice.


Day 3 (almost done)

21 Nov

Day 3 is almost done. And no problems. I’ve been out and about walking past smokers, drank coffee this morning and I’m fine. I haven’t even felt like a cigarette. Well, at least not a craving that was not able to be put behind me immediately. What the hell is going on this time? Normally, I’d be climbing up the walls…

I’m actually looking forward to discovering what happens now. Of course, there’s all the improved health outcomes to look forward to, but I’m curious about what effects I actually notice.

Will I sleep better? I’ve actually been waking up after about 5 hours sleep, every day since Friday, no matter if it’s 3am or later. Is that because my body is used to such terrible sleep that 5 hours seems to do it. I don’t know. I’m pretty tired now.

Will my taste get better? I’m so used to my taste buds being smoker’s taste buds that I don’t know if I’ll even notice a change. But I like strong foods. The hotter, the better. The spicier, the better. The more pepper, the better. Will this change? Will I notice it?

Will my smell get better? I’ve known for yonks that my smell is terrible. I mean, I can’t smell things for the life of me. I have to stick my head right over the pot to get a whiff of something, and even then it’s got to be strong. I can smell a florist, but I don’t notice flowers easily. What will I smell?

What about bad things? When do I start to cough? I mean, I have a smoker’s cough, but when does this change to an ex-smoker’s cough? When do my lungs start throwing up bowls of phlegm as their little hairs march forward in revolt against the gunk of tobacco smoke?

What else happens? Anyone have any suggestions for things to keep an eye out for?

Day 2

20 Nov

Survived. 100%. With minimal rage, even though I was in the midst of huge amounts of people. Maybe it’s getting easier this whole quitting smoking game. Last time I wanted to stab the eyeballs out of anyone and everyone. This time I felt barely a ripple of fury. Bring on Day 3!!!!!

Quitting Smoking Round 2 Day 1

19 Nov

Here it goes again. The study is done. The last papers finished. Nothing much to do until I start my new job in January. I might as well quit freaking smoking. And now 24 hours have passed. So far, so good. No rage. Yet. Not much anxiety. Yet. No reason to concentrate so no lack of concentration. Yet.

However, going to the doctor today for just a trifling concern and I come back with full blown high blood pressure, a return appointment for blood test results and a requirement to go back in once a week for the next month. WTF? My lifestyle’s unhealthy but surely not that unhealthy. I’m not obese or particularly overweight. Y’know, I could lose a couple of kilos. But I walk a lot – at least I thought I did. I s’pose I drink too much. Not every day, but bingeing when I do. I don’t take drugs. I don’t eat THAT bad, except when I’m hungover. I s’pose I could drink more water and less coffee. But WTF? How do I have high blood pressure at 29?

Fuck’n’ hell. Best quit smoking proper this time.

And it’s back to Day One.

3 Nov

Short attempt.

I caved. Massively.

But there were so many more positives out of last night that I don’t care.

I’ll quit smoking soon. Just give me two weeks to get all this study out the way.

Day 4 Update.

2 Nov

So. Very. Close. To. Giving. This. Shit. Up.

If my cat miaows once more, I will skin it. Fucker.

I’m tired. I can’t focus.

Why am I doing this now? I have six fucking assignments to do. Do I cave???

Day 4. 1:16pm

2 Nov

I survived it.

I got past Day 3. So far Day 4 has been a breeze. Apart from walking in the rain – (why is it still raining, Melbourne?) – to the Post Office and desiring a smoke to get me through the bedragglement, I haven’t had a craving yet. Not one that I can’t handle anyway.

Next stage – the weekend… beer avoidance might be tough. Lucky I have six assignments due in 14 days.

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